Lyceum’s Live Xmas

Oct 8 2020 | By More

Live Shows planned for Christmas

The Lyceum Theatre has revealed plans for a live family production in December, staged in a dramatically re-shaped auditorium to enhance social distancing.

The Advent period will see the Lyceum stage a Christmas Box of new productions from a dozen top Scottish story tellers. First, eight short productions will be pre-recorded and made available online from December 1.

The big event will be a 90 minute live show, featuring four more stories, running from Wed 16 to Sun 20 December 2020. This will be staged in the theatre with a limited audience (Covid-19 restrictions permitting) as well as being streamed live online, including to school audiences.

The Lyceum stage reconfigured for socially-distanced audiences. Image: Tom Piper.

In a dramatic response to Covid-19, the whole of the auditorium is being boarded over to create a huge apron stage ahead of the start of the filming and staging of the festive tales. This will allow an audience to enjoy performances in cabaret style format. There are also plans to use the circle to increase capacity.

The idea came after artistic director David Grieg saw pictures of socially distant seating in Europe which he thought felt quite sad and not communal, Lyceum producer Liz King told Æ. “So he came up with this idea of building out over the stalls so we can have a limited audience in different formats. Not just for cabaret.”

family-friendly festive tales

The shows will all be directed by Lyceum associate directors Zinnie Harris and Wils Wilson, who have been working with designer Tom Piper. Each fifteen-minute, family-friendly festive tale will be available to download for free throughout December, with stories ranging from tales of Christmas elves and angels to dung beetles and Greyfriars Bobby.

Full details of have yet to be announced but the writers are confirmed. These include story tellers Andy Cannon and Mara Menzies, musician Karine Polwart, Scots makar Jackie Kay, children’s theatre specialist Shona Reppe and author Denise Mina as well as playwrights Hamaad Chaudhry, Tony Cownie, Robert Softley Gale, Louise Ironside, Lynda Radley and Morna Young.

The majority of the work will be new and some of the writers will be performing their own work, while others will be performed by actors. Each story will have its own creative team, maximising the amount of work and engaging a variety of freelancers at different stages of their careers.

new approach

The company says that: “with live performance on The Lyceum stage for the first time in over nine months, and digital performance streamed to homes, Lyceum Christmas Tales represents The Lyceum’s new approach to theatre in the fractured new world in which we find ourselves

“The focus will be on reaching out to our city in accessible and safe ways; changing the theatre auditorium to create intimacy alongside social distance, supporting freelancers across multiple theatrical disciplines; and telling a diverse and inclusive range of stories that inspire, enliven, and explore the unfamiliar world we now find ourselves in.”


Lyceum Christmas Tales
Royal Lyceum Theatre
Wednesday 16 – Sunday 20 December 2020
Evenings: 7pm; Sat/Sun mats: 2pm.
Tickets and Details: Book here.


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